(Our Grab The Popcorn posts look back at the biggest Mommyish stories of 2014. Read them all here.)
Did you get your flu shot yet this year? Is your pertussis booster up to date? If not, go take care of that stuff first. But once you’re all immunized up, it’s time for the Mommyish round-up of all the worst anti-vaxxer stories that made the news this year. Oh, there’s one other chore you should take care of before you settle in to read: go pop yourself a nice, big bowl of popcorn.
1. “Disease is pestilence, and pestilence is from the devil.” The story of a NYC judge upholding a policy that unvaccinated students had to stay home from school during a disease outbreak seemed pretty cut and dry – until we heard from the anti-vaxxer parents in the case. Demanding the right to send your unprotected child into a plague zone is bad enough, but plaintiff Dina Check had this to say about her 7-year-old daughter being kept home from school during a measles outbreak:
”Disease is pestilence, and pestilence is from the devil. The devil is germs and disease, which is cancer and any of those things that can take you down. But if you trust in the Lord, these things cannot come near you.”
2. Anti-vax doctor tells patients to skip vaccines and rely on herd immunity. Dr. Bob Sears is the son of the ‘real’ Dr. Sears, and takes his dad’s crunchy-granola-style pediatrician practice to the next level. While his father was cool with the CDC’s standard vaccine schedule, Dr. Bob urges followers to choose a delayed schedule instead. It’s okay to leave small children unprotected from dangerous preventable illnesses for a few extra months or years, according to Dr. Bob – because most people do vaccinate, so your precious snowflakes should both be safe from infection and untainted by those mean old needles. You have to love anti-vaccine arguments that depend on the fact that most people are going to do the right thing and get their kids immunized.
3. Jenny McCarthy hates vaccines, but loves e-cigarettes. Famed anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy is deeply, deeply concerned about the dangerous chemicals she says vaccines are laced with. (Spoilers: they’re not.) She’s less worried, though, about the carcinogens and other nasty stuff that e-cigarettes contain. Makes me wonder if she might have changed her anti-vaxx tune if GlaxoSmithKline had offered her some cold hard cash to be their spokesperson, too.
4. Vaccine starts with V, and so does vitamin. Coincidence?! I think not! Not content with merely being anti-vaccine any longer, some crunchy types decided to be completely anti-shot this year, and started rejecting the standard vitamin K shot that newborns receive in order to prevent bleeding. Because anything that can be injected into a baby’s body is automatically a toxin now, apparently, including an important vitamin that could be the difference between a fatal hemorrhage or survival. Natural good! Vitamins baaaaad!
5. Anti-vaxxers invent a ‘flu shot apology’ from the CDC. This year, the CDC released a report stating that the strains of flu in this year’s vaccine are a strong match for only about half the flu virus currently circulating – the other half will only be partially protected against by the vaccine available. Anti-vaxxers interpreted this in their usually mouth-frothy way, by claiming that the CDC was apologizing for this year’s vaccine being ineffective – and worse still, they also told people the CDC was advising against a flu shot. Sorry, anti-vaxxers, but partial flu protection is still better than none, unless you really need to use up those sick days at work before the end of the year.
6. Is nothing sacred to anti-vaxxers? The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), which should more appropriately be called the Chicken Little Anti-Vaccine Disinformation Sucking Black Hole (CLAVDSBH), fired the first volley in the War on Halloween this year. They handed out candy with anti-vaccine propaganda plastered on it. The stickers read, “Thinking about Vaccinating Your Kids? Know the Risk Before You Take It!” and included CLADVDSBH, I mean NVIC contact information. Because if you can’t trust an organization that posts Ebola conspiracy theories to give you the best possible information about vaccines, who can you trust?